“Seven out of 10 Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless.” – Pras Michel

America’s Broken Dream – Picture from the ABC Four Corners story.

The Zero Hedge website has a very confronting article about the effect of poverty on people in America.  Just because it is happening to people over there, don’t think that it couldn’t happen here in Australia.


I find this so shocking that it is hard to comprehend.  The terrible existence these people have to endure is beyond imagining.  The concept of children living in these conditions is appalling.  In the Daily Mail article that Zero Hedge quotes, it discusses evidence of children living in the underground tunnels.


It brings to mind story I watched on ABC Four Corners earlier this year called “America’s Broken Dreams”


In this story the families are living in hotels, apart from the young woman and her two children.

Many years ago, when I was 18, I was briefly homeless.  I was kicked out of home a week after my 18th birthday and I lived with a few friends, for a couple of weeks, until I had warn out my welcome.  I stayed on the streets for a single night.  It was the middle of winter in Canberra and it was terrible.   Canberra’s temp in June gets down to 0celcius and I was so cold that night.  The next day I realised I couldn’t live on the streets and I talked to someone at my school (I was finishing year 12) and they helped me by getting me to a young person’s shelter.  I stayed there for a number of months before I could arrange alternative accommodation (as well as finish my school year) and while there I saw all manner of unusual behaviour.  I was considered by the operators f the shelter to be a model resident.  I was so grateful to have somewhere to sleep that I was satisfied with the 2m x 3m room which was my bedroom.  The other residents were not so considerate.  They were all young people and it was a unisex shelter.  I saw a lot of drug use and bullying by the more aggressive of the residents.  I apparently immune from this, possibly because I was older, maybe because I was bigger than them.  I also saw a lot of weird behaviour from the girls who came to stay.  Many of them (not all of them) sought the biggest bully and offered “favours” to them.  It was like a primitive culture in there sometimes, especially when a new girl arrived.  I asked one of the girls why she acted in this manner.  She explained that it was a fair trade, sex for protection.  I found this confronting, especially as the shelter was quite a safe place, yet that was what I was told.

Reading the article at Zero Hedge reminds me of the reasons I prepare.  In an article at CBS news.com the transcript for a 60 story is available.


Within the article the father of a family (D’Angelo Coates) living in their car is interviewed.  He talks about having to sit up at night and stand guard over his car.  He is asked what he thinks about when watching his car and family all night and he answered.

“At that moment, I guess I feel less than a dad. I guess, I guess I can say or as a husband. Because I’m not able to provide for my family. “

In the next line one of the mothers (Victoria Coates ) who was interviewed said the following.

“Going into that car really did something to me. I felt helpless. I felt like I couldn’t help my children.”

Do any of you have experiences living on the streets?  Have you helped out the less fortunate?

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